THREE & OUT: WEEK 1

September 13, 2016

 

Three and Out is a weekly ScouTurf feature where we break down which three teams' stocks are dropping like a pass to Ted Ginn and which three are skyrocketing in the power rankings following the previous week of the NFL season.

 

THREE UP

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

I know it's important not to overreact after week one (especially when it comes to the 49ers - see Week 1, 2015), but for a team we had pegged to be firmly in the mix for the number one overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, a convincing 28-0 victory at home made a huge statement on Monday Night Football. The game was actually grueling to watch and I felt like I deserved a participation trophy for sticking it out until the clock hit 0:00s, but the 49ers were the more physically dominant unit, especially on defense. Before we get hasty, let's be clear - the 49ers are still actually #bad as long as Blaine Gabbert is their answer at QB. But maybe, just maybe, San Francisco will be Chip Kelly's forever home. And on another note - how did the Titans choose to keep Mike "Mayonnaise" Mularkey over bringing in Chip Kelly as Head Coach? As good as GM Ryan Robinson has done early in his career, that's an enormous head scratcher.

 

OAKLAND RAIDERS

We were very close to getting this prediction correct in our Week 1 Pick 'Em article (predicted Raiders win 31-30). We all know "Black Jack" (copyright - Andrew Siciliano) Del Rio showed huge spunk bunkers by going for 2 to avoid overtime and seal the win, but this was a huge statement game for a team that has been getting serious hype all offseason. It's not easy to go into New Orleans and win, and they did so even with Drew Brees throwing 423 yards and 4 TDs. There's no doubt this Oakland team is maturing very quickly, but one situation to monitor is how high-priced free agent acquisition Sean Smith responds to his benching in Week 2. Cornerback was supposed to be an area of strength going into this season, but in week one, it was it's biggest liability.

 

"Black Jack" Del Rio walks out of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome a winner.

 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

CBS Sports Columnist Pete Prisco called 2016 a "throw-away" season for the Eagles earlier this week on the radio, but I couldn't disagree more. Sure, the win against the lowly Browns isn't anything earth-shattering, but this is an extremely aggressive defense piloted by new Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz and the only question mark was rolling with rookie QB Carson Wentz. While it's important not to overreact after one game, Wentz did some really nice things and if he can continue to develop weekly, the Eagles should be in the mix for a division title in December.

 

 

 

THREE DOWN

LOS ANGELES RAMS

As mentioned above, the Rams had potentially the worst offensive showing that I can recall in all my years watching football. Case Keenum was absolutely miserable and the fact that Jared Goff is buried on the depth chart chilling in civvies while Wentz is shredding the Browns secondary is extremely troubling and a real cause for concern. There was a lot of dialogue in August regarding potential contract extensions for Head Coach Jeff Fisher and General Manager Les Snead, but after a debut like that, we now know why nothing ever officially materialized on that front. Regardless, I still expect Jeff Fisher to be coaching at the LA Coliseum next year... the only difference is it will be with the USC Trojans and not the Los Angeles Rams. /Shade emoji

If only Aaron Donald was able to throw Zane Beadles like he did his helmet, perhaps the game would have been a little closer

 

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Let me be clear here - there is no reason to panic in Arizona. This team will still win at least 11 games and perhaps go far into the playoffs. HOWEVER, there is no reason that a New England Patriots team led by a backup QB in his first start with no weapons (Gronk injured), the worst opening day starting bookend tackles I can remember, and two rookie guards making their NFL debut should go into YOUR house and take care of business like that. I realize they were a poorly snapped field goal attempt away from winning the game - I get that. But when you look at the score at the end of the season, it's not going to matter, and in such a highly contested division with the Seattle Seahawks, this game could end up being the difference come season's end for a Divisional Championship and even a first round playoff bye.

 

 

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

You know how I told Cardinals fans not to panic? Chargers fans - you may now officially begin to panic. How in the name of Dan Fouts can you possibly allow a divisional rival to win their biggest comeback in franchise history is beyond me. What's even worse is that their only viable offensive weapon, Keenan Allen, is out for the year with a torn ACL, leaving Travis Benjamin as the best wide receiver remaining on their roster. The Chargers are feeling pretty low right now, and with a hungry Jacksonville Jaguars team coming into town after nearly beating Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, things aren't looking sunny in San Diego. One silver lining? Melvin Gordon is looking like Wisconsin Melvin Gordon, so I am forced to believe he was playing on one leg last year.

And it was at this moment when Chargers fans knew, "what is dead may never die."

 

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